Just because you've stumbled upon a table full of cakes, doesn't mean you should stuff yourself full until you are sick. Avoid the fate of the Greek philosopher who died from eating too much watermelon. Select few slices and enjoy the experience.
Overcommitting is an insidious waste that opens the floodgates to other wasteful activities.
Suddenly you need to organize additional meetings so you can score and prioritise all these projects; resources are stretched thin and unevenly, driving discontent among employees; missed deadlines and poor quality trigger the death spiral of adding more bureaucracy... and the list goes on.
Why do managers overcommit?
When it comes to growth and innovation, I observed that fear of missing out is one of the big drivers. This fear is irrational, and results in hoarding ideas and inability to say “No” or “Stop” as often as they should be said.
At a deeper level, this is the clash between the scarcity and growth mindset.
In the former it's always a fight for survival, and every opportunity we happen to stumble upon is immediately gorged, regardless of our current and future needs. It's primal, almost reptilian.
The latter is about thriving through thoughtful selection of opportunities to be investigated and implemented. It's being conscious and confident in one's own adaptability to whatever happens.
Admonition that “it's not about idea, but the execution” still holds true. Don’t be afraid of saying no to possibilities, opportunities, and ideas – even if they are good. Don’t lose dollars over pennies.
As my friend Dan Toma says, it's better to take thousand steps in one direction, than one step in thousand directions. With the right strategic filter and innovation sequence in place you can alleviate anxiousness of missing out. If something is good, it'll come back.
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